• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Cadbury gets shareholders’ nod to convert N7bn debt to equity

Cadbury Nigeria finance director resigns

The shareholders of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, a fast-moving consumer goods firm, have approved the conversion of an outstanding intercompany loan of N7.04 billion ($7.72 million) owed to its majority shareholder, Cadbury Schweppes Overseas Limited, to equity.

This was revealed at its general meeting, which was held in Lagos recently.

“With the shareholders’ approval, the loan would be converted into equity by the allotment of 402.08 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to Cadbury Schweppes Overseas Limited,” the company said in a statement.

It said shareholders also approved the company’s proposal for an increase of its share capital from N939.1 million to N1.14 billion.

In an explanatory statement on the proposed debt-to-equity conversion filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited in January, the company revealed that between February 2021 and September 2023, Cadbury Schweppes Overseas, loaned $23 million to Cadbury Nigeria to help settle outstanding third-party loans, which the company had obtained to fund its raw material imports and other input costs.

Oyeyimika Adeboye, managing director of Cadbury Nigeria, attributed the debt-to-equity decision to the challenges faced in sourcing dollars to repay the company’s foreign currency-denominated loans, due to persistent foreign currency scarcity experienced in the country.

Oluseye Olusoga, managing director of Parthian Partners, while commenting on the development, said: “The Cadbury situation is not that bad for local investors. If you owe money, it comes with a fine. That debt could just keep ballooning. So, this is like a cure.

“So, the question is, how do you keep it from growing again, so it doesn’t become a liability? That was why I said we need to focus on how to get local substitutes and how we export more of what we manufacture,” he said.

Cadbury Schweppes Overseas Limited, an entity currently owned by Mondelēz International Inc, holds a 74.97 percent stake in Cadbury Nigeria, while the remaining shares are held by a diverse group of indigenous, individual, and institutional investors.

With the conversion, Cadbury Schweppes Overseas shareholding will increase from 74.97 percent to 79.39 percent while that of other shareholders will decrease from 25.03 percent to 20.61 percent.